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Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire VR Review

Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire is a new VR experience located in Downtown Disney. We were able to grab tickets on pre-sale last year before they sold out, and this morning, after months of waiting, was our turn to don the suits, helmets, and blasters and recover the Imperial intelligence.

Here's a quick story synopsis from the official Secrets of the Empire website:

Under the orders of the budding rebellion, your team will travel to the molten planet of Mustafar. Your mission is to recover Imperial intelligence vital to the rebellion’s survival. Alongside the pragmatic droid K-2S0, your team must navigate through an enemy facility walking into danger at every turn. Disguised as stormtroopers, grab your blaster, solve puzzles, and fight giant lava monsters in an effort to fulfill your team's orders.
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Sea of Thieves Impressions

Sea of Thieves is now in a closed beta state! I'm excited to be able to share my impressions of what we have in the closed beta, but will probably limit my thoughts to this since I am unsure right now if the Alpha content I played is still under NDA.

The game in this closed beta is a pared down "bespoke pirate experience" which is code for it being more of a demo without all of the features.

That said, I have enough to go on to share my thoughts.

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Pirate’s Cove Board Game

Arrrrr! I have another board game review/overview/recommendation for ye mates!

My family had a really fun time playing Pirate’s Cove over the holidays. My wife, knowing I love pirates so much (which is why she also got me an Assassin’s Creed Kenway cutlass replica) got me this great board game all about sailing amassing pirate fame, collecting booty, and plundering enemy vessels.

In Pirate’s Cove you’re the captain of your very own ship! There are twelve rounds of play and during each round the players individually decide which island they want to sail to. The key about traveling to islands is that each round the rewards are different, and you can only upgrade certain ship components on specific islands.

If you’re the only pirate to choose an island, fantastic! The booty is yours. If another player chooses the same island, or one of the infamous legendary pirate NPCs is headed there that round, then it’s time for a battle!

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Cover Your A$$ets

I received a really cool card game for Christmas called "Cover Your A$$ets". My Mom got it for me after her sister's family recommended it hands down their favorite game to play as a family.

The gist of the game is pretty simple. You need to accrue $1,000,000 is assets (or as much as possible before the game ends) in order to win. You accrue assets by matching 2 of the same asset together and playing them in front of you.

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Styx: Master of Shadows

I picked up Styx: Master of Shadows on a Steam sale recently when I had the itch to play a really stealthy game. In my mind I pictured Assassin’s Creed gameplay but from the perspective of a really rough and grumpy goblin. I was not disappointed or wrong in any way.

Styx is a really… personable… goblin who pretty much takes pleasure in killing humans while being sneaky and snarky. His personality is one of the more charming sides of the game. Without the interaction Styx has while talking to himself during a mission and other characters, the game really would be just about a goblin knifing people. His quips and crude humor add a level of personality that I find oddly endearing.

There’s a story mixed in there somewhere, but for the early parts of the game you’re pretty much just knifing humans as you try to figure out why there are voices in your head. Eventually the story unfolds into something a little more compelling, but remains — in my humble opinion — background to the gameplay.

Styx has been given some pretty neat skills because of his exposure to “amber” (which is part of the Tree in the story). The skills at Styx’s disposal are pretty cool. Styx can “clone” himself by barfing up a version of himself that he can then take control of and manipulate the environment or use to “interact” with enemies. Clones themselves can jump on people, flip levers, detonate for a smoke cloud, and all be an all-around asset. They’re perhaps one of the most powerful abilities available. Other skills include invisibility, amber vision (think eagle vision from AC), and

Styx has some neat tools too. You get throwing knives, potions, and sand with spit in it to put out torches. They’re neat, though limited. It all boilers down to your trusty knife. But as a goblin, being so small, you can’t stand to-to-toe with human guards. They’ll pretty much wreck you. Yes, you can parry and counter their attacks to some degree, but when you get detected it’s best to run. I rarely survive actual combat.

Being a small goblin has its advantages you wouldn’t have as a normal sized human. Being able to crawl through small areas, scurry under tables, and otherwise hide behind things that would be too big for an AC character is fun. Several times I’ve had that feeling of being caught just to duck under a table and put out a light fast enough to not be seen.

Guards and other enemies behave predictably, though I like how they something react dynamically to their surroundings. If you put out a light they’ll wonder why it’s out. They’ll notice blood on the floor left by your latest victim, and they’ll react to sounds too. Bumping into a stool or a vase will definitely startle or alert them. Even jumping off heights onto the floor will make sound, but whats neat is that you can jump onto carpet to dampen that sound. For a stealthy game, they definitely hit all those stealthy gameplay points I want.

Difficulty is also pretty legit. I’m trying to avoid save scumming too much, but sometimes that difficulty is obnoxiously hard. I’ve had to load many times to get past certain points. There’s even a harder mode you can enable where you can’t even get into combat all — pretty much a ‘detected and dead’ mode.

Styx: Master of Shadows is regularly on sale on Steam, and you can probably get it bundled with the newest game Styx: Shards of Darkness. Graev and I are playing through the latter co-op while we play through the first game separately (since it has no co-op). I’m giving this my nod of approval. Check it out if you like stealthy games.

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